SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s wedding season across KELOLAND but as families and friends gather to celebrate this summer, the final price tag for the party just keeps going up.  

Like just about everything, inflation is affecting nearly every avenue of the wedding industry.

It’s only been two weeks since Nathan and Maddie Woodall said “I do” at their dream wedding in Spearfish.

“It was just perfect,” Maddie said. 

While their big day was everything they hoped for and more, the cost was also memorable.

“We went into it with a very realistic expectation of oh hey, it’s not going to be cheap to get married,” Nathan said. 

They had some help with planning from friends who’d just gotten married last summer.

“We literally got an excel spreadsheet of how much everything they spent,” Nathan said. 

But in just one year those prices changed quite a bit.

“It wasn’t a huge wave of shock right away, a lot of little things that added up,” Nathan said.

From flowers…

“Our toffee roses have increased about a dollar fifty to two dollars per stem,” Jane Rae Events manager Ashley Anderson said. 

…to food…

“If it’s a dollar extra a plate for hundreds of guests, it definitely adds up,” Nathan said. 

…the long list of small increases ends in a much higher bill for the bridal party this summer.

“On average last year people were spending between $25,000 and $35,000 and this summer we have people spending between $35,000 to $50,000,” Anderson said. 

These types of large weddings take months of extensive planning.

“Usually weddings are booking 11 to 18 months out,” Tyler Childress, the owner of Laurel Ridge Barn said.

And while some of the more stationary costs are secured at the start of planning…

“We lock our venue price in from day one, so if inflation changes…our contract to customers stays the same,” Childress said. 

…other more variable vendors like caterers and florists could come with more of a sticker shock this summer.

“You want to be honoring to what was originally quoted but also no one can plan for the type of inflation that we’re seeing right now, so we are seeing some vendors add on an additional service charge or just increasing those prices in general,” Anderson said.

“Flowers are more expensive now, that was one of the areas we kind of cut back,” Nathan said. 

Like many couples getting married this summer, the Woodalls chose to make some last minute adjustments to their floral plans to compensate for the rising prices.

“That allows us more freedom to get more creative with stems that we can choose. Sometimes we plug in a silk toffee rose here and there to give them the look that they want without affecting prices,” Anderson said.

Couples may be making similar last minute changes in other areas to help deal with inflation while sticking to their original budget.

“We’re seeing a lot more last minute , make it smaller weddings,” Childress said. “Maybe we’ll do without a live band and go to DJ or maybe instead of two types of meat, do just one type of meat.”

“Those conversations are happening a lot more. We try to be super up front with our clients,” Anderson said.

Anderson says wedding planners are especially helpful in navigating the constantly changing costs for nearly all vendors.

“If we notice an area seeing some major increases across the board, we’ll let you know what to expect maybe even before vendors know,” Anderson said. 

And with so much pre-planning involved with weddings, part of the difficulty for vendors is trying to estimate how much things will cost a year or more in advance.

“We don’t know what the future holds, what the cost will be,” Childress said. 

In just three years of operating Laurel Ridge Barn, Childress says his operating costs have changed significantly.

“First thing is propane costs,” Childress said. “This last winter time was double…when you have a large venue and a lot of propane, you feel that.”

He says his property tax bill has also increased by more than $1,000 a month. So far he’s been able to absorb those added expenses without raising rates.

“We’re trying to not increase and trying to figure out other ways to add other options,” Childress said. “We just got a stage we ordered in for an additional add on, so other ways to give a la cart items to our clients so that way our fee stays the same.”

But as costs for just about everything continue to climb, wedding planners say couples tying the knot next season will likely be paying even more.

“If you’re just starting out in the planning process, do give yourself a cushion of like $3,000-$5,000 for unexpected costs because unfortunately they will come up,” Anderson said. 

If you’ve been wedding planning for a while, you may want to update your price list. Even things like wedding dresses or jewelry are seeing big increases right now. 

“You kind of want to get things booked and paid as soon as possible, people are raising their prices all the time, it’s not just one season it’s all the time,” Maddie said. 

The Woodalls are grateful they were able to book and pay for most of their wedding vendors early in their planning process before prices really started to soar this summer.

“I’m glad that we splurged on what we splurged on, glad we were able to save on other areas too, ” Maddie said. 

And while the price tag may be a memorable part of every wedding…

“You don’t remember how much you spent on your catering, you remember the people you were able to share that awesome experience with, “Nathan said. 

…even record inflation is no competition for the celebration of the start of their happily ever after.

“Regardless of what you spend on a wedding its going to be beautiful, its going to be perfect, its going to be the best day ever, “Maddie said. 

While the cost of weddings is going up, the demand is still very much there. Venues say they’re still booking out Saturday weddings at least a year in advance and wedding planners say couples may make some small changes to save some money, the increased costs don’t seem to be affecting the size of the guest list.